“GOD’S FEARFUL WORD”
Turn in your Bible to the 19th Psalm, and stand for the reading of God’s Word. Please read silently, while I read aloud, verses 7-9: “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.” In these three verses the Word of God is labeled the LORD’s law, the LORD’s testimony, the LORD’s statutes, the LORD’s commandment, the LORD fear, and the LORD’s judgments. Let me direct your attention to the phrase “the fear of the LORD.” “The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever.”
First, BECAUSE OF THE AUTHOR OF IT
Folks, this Book is the Word of God and in this Book are the Words of God. This is why Moses and the prophets, when they came to deliver their message to the people, said, “Hear the word of the LORD,” “Thus saith the LORD,” and such things as that. And when Ezekiel was sent to the house of Israel in their state of rebellion during the Babylonian captivity, he was commissioned to say to them, “Thus saith the Lord GOD,” Ezekiel 2.4 and 3.11.
Second, GOD’S WORD INSPIRES FEAR BECAUSE OF THE SUBJECT OF IT
The subject matter of God’s Word is the eternal destiny of sinners. I say this because there is no other topic as prominent in the Bible as eternity, the hereafter, and your place as a sinner in it.
Third, BECAUSE OF THE FIDELITY OF IT
Fidelity means truth and faithfulness. “The Scripture cannot be broken,” John 10.35. That’s why it’s called “the Scripture of truth,” Daniel 10.21, “the true sayings of God,” Revelation 19.9, and in our text for today, “the fear of the LORD.” Every jot and tittle in God’s Word is forever settled in heaven, and is more durable than this universe we live in. “Heaven and earth,” said Christ, “shall pass away, but My Word shall not pass away,” Matthew 24.35.
Finally, GOD’S WORD INSPIRES FEAR, DREAD AND TERROR BECAUSE OF THE REJECTION OF IT
There are some here today who have no due regard for the Word of God, and who do not make it your dread and fear. You are ruled by the lusts of your flesh, the desire of your eyes, and the pride of your life. You ought to feel sorely rebuked by this doctrine of the fear of God’s Word. As well, you are accounted by God as a worldly fool. “Lo, they have rejected the word of the Lord; and what wisdom is in them?” Jeremiah 8.9. That there are people like you who have no respect or fear of God’s Word is evident not only by observing your life, but also by the testimony of Scripture. “As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the LORD,” some men like you once said to the prophet Jeremiah, “we will not hearken unto thee. But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth out of our own mouth,” Jeremiah 44.16-17. Were those men talking to Jeremiah just mad about something? Or do we not see the same spirit of rebellion around us in our day? Solomon wrote, “there is no new thing under the sun,” Ecclesiastes 1.9. So, the problem that existed in Jeremiah’s day exists today. The Word of the LORD, the Bible, doesn’t really mean anything at all to you. You don’t care what God wants. You don’t care what God’s Word says. You’re going to do what you want to do, what you feel like doing. Understand, you will certainly perish in your rebellion, which is as the sin of witchcraft. And the Word which you despise will still pronounce its judgment on you. And unless you get saved you cannot ever see God’s face with any comfort. Are not the words of God called by the name of “the fear of the LORD?” Then you who love the world and things of men instead of the words of God have an explanation to make on judgment day. I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes.
If all these things are true, what will happen to people who mock and condemn the words of God, making them as a ridiculous thing which is not to be regarded? Can they prosper who do such things? If God has put such reverence upon His Word as to call it “the fear of the LORD,” what do you suppose will happen to those who do what they can to overthrow its authority by denying it to be His Word, and by raising objections to its authority?
Listen very carefully to me. I’m only going to say a few more words to you this morning, and I am only going to say them once. I bring you a message from God. It has been conveyed from the very throne room of God’s regal majesty on high, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God by means of the apostles, to the written Word which I hold in my hand.
First, WORDS ABOUT GOD
Genesis 1.1: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”
There is a Creator. This is no accident. You are no accident. He is personal, rational and intelligent. He is also omnipotent, all powerful. These are indisputable facts that God makes no attempt whatsoever to prove or establish. They are given, just as He is given.
Leviticus 19.2: “Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy.”
God is holy. It is an essential attribute of His nature. It is something that He is and it is part of what makes Him Who and what He is. Holy has to do with clean. Holy has to do with pure. Holy has to do with right. Holy has to do with moral. Holy has to do with fire. God’s holiness is not a passive attribute. That is, God does not just exist as holy. As holiness is clean and pure and right and moral, so also is it a characteristic of God’s holiness to seek to make holy, to seek to cleanse and purify. Thus, because He is God, Creator and Sustainer of this universe and everything that is contained in this universe, it is within His rights to demand that you, His creature be holy, and demand you He has.
Second, WORDS ABOUT YOU
Romans 3.23: “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
This is a statement, a conclusion really, about the entire human race, of which you are a member. As God is holy, you are a sinner. As He is by nature clean, you are by nature dirty. As He is by nature good, you are by nature evil. As He is by nature right, you are by nature wrong. The result is, you’re simply not good enough for God. You don’t measure up. By whatever you would care to be evaluated, you come up short.
Romans 6.23: “For the wages of sin is death.”
Sin, which is that unholy and vile nature that is so opposite God, which is your nature, commands its just due, its proper reward. And the just due for sin, the proper reward for the nature that you have, with its animosity toward God and its independence from God, is death. But death is not annihilation. Death is not an ending at all, but a beginning. For sinning an infinite being you must suffer the penalty of an infinite punishment. And the infinite punishment you will endure for your sin is the death of the lake which burns with fire and brimstone throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity.
Romans 3.18: “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
This is perhaps the greatest indictment against you, showing your most obstinate characteristic. You have no fear of God. You just cannot see fearing God. Imagine having no fear of an infinite Being. Imagine having no fear of a Being of such dazzling holiness and august majesty. Imagine a god of such terror that the holy angels cover their eyes in His presence. Yet not only do you not fear Him, you give no thought to fearing Him and cannot really imagine fearing Him. How proud. How obstinate. How hard you must fall to your destiny.
Finally, WORDS ABOUT JESUS CHRIST
Hebrews 10.31: “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
God is unapproachable by you. You dare not try to approach Him, for fear of His wrath, for fear of His holiness, for fear of your own sin. Any attempt to approach God is insulting to Him in the extreme, is a denial of His essential holiness and your essential sinfulness. You are a fool not to believe in this God, and you are a fool to believe that believing in this God is sufficient to accomplish anything. Thus, you are faced with a desperate dilemma. To escape His wrath you must somehow be reconciled to a God you cannot approach and Whose hands you dare not fall into.
John 3.16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
God has a Son. His name is Jesus. His Son, Who is now back in heaven, was born of a virgin named Mary and suffered and bled and died for yours, and rose from the dead after three days. Amazingly, God’s love prompted His to sacrifice His Own Son so “that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” So, the only alternative you have to eternal damnation is God’s Son, Jesus. The only alternative. There is no other.
I have told you what I’m going to tell you this morning. And if you were going to listen you’ve already listened. Your fornication, lying, stubbornness, or whatever, shows you lost and in need of Jesus Christ.